- So-so battery life
- Too big for one-handed use
- Awkward fingerprint scanner placement
- Bixby still inaccurate
Samsung is back with the latest version of the Note series—the Galaxy Note8. While it still offers the innovative S-Pen stylus that no one else can touch, phones are getting bigger and more powerful.
It’s no longer unique to be a big phone, and the S8 offers power in spades. Does the Note8 still offer a unique value? More so, do reviewers find that the big features match the big price tag?
Reviewers are chiming in on their thoughts. Let’s see what they think!
The Note8 follows in the footsteps of the rest of the S8 series. The aluminum and glass chassis features a slimmer profile than competing phones and a seamless design with rounded screen edges and phone corners.
It’s IP68 water and dustproof. So don’t worry about using your new phone (or the S-Pen) in the rain or near the pool.
Reviewers loved the design, but found the corners uncomfortable in the pocket. Phone Scoop summed up opinions well, saying, “The uniformity of the shape, the thin profile, the luscious materials all make the Note8 something to lust after, just like they (still) do with the S8 and S8+.”
The front of the phone is reserved for Samsung’s 6.3-inch QHD AMOLED Infinity display. You’ll find no bezels on the size and minimal top and bottom space. This, combined with the 1440-by-2960 resolution means the phone is shaped more like a checkbook than the massive slab of phone the screen size might suggest.
The Guardian notes, “… that 6.3in screen is squeezed into a body that’s pretty much the same size as an iPhone 7 Plus.” Despite this, most reviewers found one-handed use next to impossible. Especially when paired with the odd placement of the fingerprint scanner on the rear of the phone.
Reviewers praised the screen for it’s inky blacks, 600 nits of brightness and sharp details. It also supports HDR video if you can find a good source.
Powering the phone is a 2.35Ghz octa-core Snapdragon processor and 6GB of RAM. As you’d expect from the top-tier components, there’s zero complaints here. Android Community noted, “You won’t be left wanting with the Galaxy Note8 in terms of performance.”
The phone ships with Android 7.1.1 Nougat and will see an update to 8.0 Oreo. While reviewers were once critical of Samsung’s TouchWiz UI, they loved the latest version. In particular, most found the S-Pen integrations and split-screen modes handy and intuitive.
One area of software that didn’t impress reviewers was Bixby—Samsung’s new virtual assistant. From inaccurate voice recognition to triggering Bixby randomly through regular conversation, most found they went back to Google Assistant fast.
If you’re looking for a powerful camera, reviews indicate you’re in luck. The phone features a dual rear camera setup that allows for up to 2x optical zoom, optical image stabilization and the ability to capture RAW images. Reviewers raved about the camera.
Canadian Reviewer summed up opinions well, saying, “Samsung's pedigree as a camera manufacturer is evident. The Note8 is a very good camera and managed to take some striking landscape, portrait, macro and panoramic shots even on the automatic setting.”
Gizmodo agreed, declaring, “The Note8's Live Focus photos are just about the best that I've taken with a smartphone.”
You’ll find 64 to 256GB of internal storage and support for microSD cards up to 256GB. That leaves plenty of room to store your favorite shots or record 4K video.
Samsung crammed a 3300mAh battery into the sleek Note8. Reviews show it’s good for a full day of moderate use. However, heavy users might need to find a charger after the sun sets. Gizmodo noted, “I doubt you'd get more than a full day's enjoyment out of the Note8 unless you switched on Samsung's power saving mode early on in the day.”
Fortunately, the phone supports fast charging through both USB-C and wireless chargers. So keeping the phone juiced up is easy.
Overall, reviews indicate the phone is a solid comeback from the fiasco that was the Note 7. The only thing reviewers questioned was price. If you’re not looking for the S-Pen functionality, many reviews recommended saving money and sticking with the S8 or S8 Plus.
V3 summed up recommendations well, saying, “Yes, it's a large smartphone - probably too large for most people's uses, and that criticism extends to the price. However, if you are after a 'phablet' sized smartphone this is probably the very best that your money can buy.”